Passing the torch, or not?
As an amateur I would like that my children would study music seriously (strings or keyboard) during their education and I would welcome if they would dedicate their professions to that.
It would be their own decision eventually, but in order to give them a chance, parents need to decide to open that possibility by making them take classes when they are very young... Often before any other education.
Flowers are more fragant in the neighbour's yard. Maybe I welcome a prospect of them musicians because I have not suffered the pains and struggles of that career. So I would like to know what is the position of the professional violinists (or musicians). Do you encourage your children to try a musical career or would you rather prevent them?
Of course musical classes as one more educational subject like languages or gymnastics in your neighborhood academy is not the issue. The point is to encourage the high level, top teachers, and competition that is the way for professionals nowadays...
Do you violinists wish for your kids to follow your path or to avoid it?
I feel we should do all we can to make the career possible, but not impose it.
This is a great subject to discuss. Should a parent (or even a teacher) push a student towards a professional career in a field that, if not actively contracting, is certainly not expanding. Let's assume we're talking about a "normal" career, such as professorship, and not a career as a professional soloist.
I think most would agree that some supplement to the typical public-school education is beneficial. Music is one option, but there are others. Some kids learn additional languages, others learn to draw and paint, others do sports. It's good to find something where there is long-term quality (pro) instruction available, and I think it is helpful but not essential that there is a critical mass so that a sense of community develops (for example, a strong Suzuki group).
@Carlos D'Agulleiro I cannot answer your question directly since I am not a professional, and the wonderful musicians I have come across who tried to make a career, on the whole failed. I post, in spite of my lack of expertise, to draw your attention to a couple of useful sources. If you wish to enter the project with eyes open to the downsides, you are probably already aware of the the recent sociological study of training musicians by Izabela Wagner. There are several summaries by journalists, e.g. https://newrepublic.com/article/123167/how-make-virtuoso-violinist. The Min Kym book 'Gone' also gives interesting insight into the world of the child who is training to be a violinist, and one is left with the impression of a rather damaged person on the downside--I do not think she would deny that--who on the upside achieved a minor career as a soloist, as well as celebrity for having a Strad stolen in a careless moment.
I think studying music making as a child is a wonderful thing. Both my sister and I did it. My 3 children did it and so have my 3 grandchildren, although it has stuck as a life-long pursuit for only 2 of the 6 and at a professional level for only a short time for both of them. However I don't like the idea of pushing a child toward a profession in music.
Parents should provide starting opportunities, but children are best served when they find their own driving interests, and parents support them. As an example, one of my sons showed impressive musical talents at age 4 or 5, and by 7 would put his own interpretation on any violin piece he played. If we had started him on saxophone he might now be the next John Coltrane. He thought seriously about going 'pro', and had the chops and the early awards. Late in high school, he decided on engineering. Years later, he now designs satellites. Space is even more unforgiving than a classical music critic. His early childhood abilities to see how the parts/phrases contributed (or not) to the whole composition, and carry it out with precision are now expressed in different ways. But music performance got him started on the path to find his most enjoyable skills. My advice is to plant them well, but let them grow and flower in the ways they see the sun.
And what if your child prefers rock guitar or drums? Will you still be as supportive as if they pursued classical violin/piano? Or they want to be a bassoonist?
Nice story, Mike Laird!
I wonder if there are examples of children who were not initially interested and after some time and coaxing along began to show a true love for the thing the parent wanted them to pursue?
Timothy, I think it is rather common to have to "stick with it" for a number of years before expecting it to become self motivating. My son is a prime example. He's been playing for 6-7 years, and only in the last year has his inner flame truly been kindled. I think if you only gave it one year and expected them to love to practice, the population of future violin layers would go extinct.
Maybe you're right Craig. I had my son playing drums for about two years. He asked me if he could stop playing. I could have continued to push him. I know he would have hated me. Maybe there would have been a turn around. It was his idea to play. The fact that he's been out of school now for a long time and has zero interest in any instrument or even music makes me feel I made the right choice.
I am not a professional musician. My son is really into violin. He is 5. He has now in total 6 lessons of music per week (2*2 of violin+ 1 rythmic + 1 music theory) and claims that he gonna be a composer. And only the reason i pay for all of this is his joy.
I had exactly zero enthusiasm for the violin when I started. What got me interested was the experience of playing in an orchestra.
"And what if your child prefers rock guitar or drums? Will you still be as supportive as if they pursued classical violin/piano?" No, there are limits! I'm fine with the bassoon, though.
I think that you should expose your kids to music, make it clear that playing is an option, show your own personal enthusiasm for music, and then let them show an interest in it before you get them started. I'm not a parent, but I would think there is a balance between letting the kid understand that it is their choice, and letting them understand that having made the initial commitment, it takes some (but not heavy) dedication.
I started all three of my children on the violin at a very young age. One by one they got to fifth grade and let me know how much they hated the violin. So the oldest switched to double bass, the second to oboe, and my youngest to flute. All three excelled on their instruments of choice. The first two played at conservatory admittance level by the end of high school but chose to pursue other fields of study. The jury is still out on my daughter, who is in high school.
Does music have to be a profession? I've never even been able to conceive being a professional musician, but I get so much enjoyment as an amateur that I'm satisfied. I think all children should be exposed to music at an early age - not to prepare for a job but to have the background. Even if, as I did, they leave music behind for 25 years, what they learned in childhood will be there should they decide to take it up again.
"Do you encourage your children to try a musical career or would you rather prevent them?"
No. In our country many violinists (virtuosi, professors at schools or violinists in orchestre) todat rarely let their children persue the career of classical music, generally they are usually too democratic, and will ask their children's desire. But under particular situation, in fact, pupils are not encouraged to choose this career:
You don't need an antique violin to make a living at music. But you do need a place to live, health insurance, gas, college loans, etc.
Scott is correct. I work at a state university that has one of the best music education programs to be had in this area, although I work here as a computer building automation specialist.
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.